The head of the world's Roman Catholics -- Pope Paul -- braved drizzle and cold wins on Sunday (26 March) to celebrate Easter Mass on the steps of St.
GV Pope Paul celebrating mass in St. Peter's Square
GV PAN Crowd
GV Pope Paul at altar
GV ZOOM IN Pope walks onto balcony to applause
GV Crowd applauding
GV Pope gives his Easter blessing
Up until the last minute there had been doubts as to whether the Pope would celebrate Mass in the open air, but when the time came aides helped him to climb the few steps to a specially built canopy shielded on two sides by glass screens. The Pope's illness had prevented him from attending the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday ceremonies for the first time in his reign.
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Background: The head of the world's Roman Catholics -- Pope Paul -- braved drizzle and cold wins on Sunday (26 March) to celebrate Easter Mass on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City.
SYNOPSIS: The 80 year-old Pontiff had been forced to miss all other Easter ceremonies because of an attack of influenza. But 200,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square heard him say Mass in a hoarse voice and later deliver his traditional Easter message from the central balcony. His speech was televised live to 32 countries and its main point was warning to the faithful on the dangers of false ideologies.
The Pope said that those who had the good fortune of considering themselves believers must overcome mental attitudes produced by questionable opinions and by ideologies constructed from a naturalistic mentality. In what was seen by observers as a reference to his recent illness the Pope began his message by saying "we enlist at this moment all the human energy at our disposal." Pope Paul has been leader of the world's 650 million Catholics since 1963. His message this year also included an exhortation to the faithful to be strong in their faith, even if at present their knowledge of God was like the reflection in a dim mirror.